FACULTY

 
Katie Bissinger
Artistic Director,
Lower School Ballet,
Theater Dance, Tap, Choreography
Katie Bissinger has been dancing since she was 7 years old.  She began her classical ballet training with Powers Dance Art Centre of Newburgh and the Marya A. Kennett DanceCentre of Goshen, where she was a member of the Ballet Company. She later trained in New York City with Phil Black, Germaine Salsberg, Frank Hatchett and Sheila Barker.

Katie is a former Radio City Rockette and was dance captain of the first national tour of "The Who's Tommy". She has performed in numerous national and European tours of such shows as "42nd Street", "Annie Get Your Gun", "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes" and "My One and Only".  She has directed and/or choreographed many musicals at Stagedoor Manor, The Philipstown Depot Theatre, and Haldane High School.  She is a member of Actors' Equity Association and also has a BFA in Film/TV Production from New York University.

Katie has been teaching dance, including tap, theater dance, jazz and ballet for over 30 years. 
Alex Bloomstein
Ballet, Modern, Choreography
Alex Bloomstein began dancing in 1977. He was a full scholarship and fellowship student at the Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival.  He has studied ballet with Diana Byer, Benjamin Harkarvy, Choo San Goh, Marjorie Mussman, Janet Panetta, Igal Perry, and Rochelle Zide-Booth, among others. Alex studied modern dance at the Merce Cunningham Dance Studio. He also studied the modern technique of José Limon with Daniel Lewis and Hannah Kahn. He has studied the Martha Graham modern dance technique with Diana Hart, Mary Hinkson and Norman Walker.

Alex has also studied composition and choreography with a variety of teachers, including Bessie Schoenberg and Lynne Taylor-Corbett. Alex has performed his choreography, as well as the choreography of others, at numerous venues, including the Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival and Dance Theater Workshop in New York City.

Alex has taught ballet technique, modern technique, composition and choreography, improvisation, and movement for actors in a wide variety of settings, including the Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival, the Williamstown Theater Festival, Williams College, and Simon's Rock of Bard College. He has also taught musculo-skeletal anatomy, kinesiology, and movement assessment.
 
Claire Deane
Lower, Middle and Upper School Ballet, Modern, Contemporary, Choreography
Claire Deane began her ballet training at Scarsdale Ballet Studio under the direction of Diana White. She performed lead roles in various classical ballets including Kitri in Don Quixote and the Princess in Firebird, as well as soloist roles in works by George Balanchine, including Serenade, Who Cares?, Stars and Stripes, and La Source. Claire continued her dance education at the Conservatory of Dance at the State University of New York at Purchase, and graduated Magna Cum Laude.

Claire has been teaching ballet, modern dance and creative movement, to dancers of all ages, in Westchester County and the Mid-Hudson Valley since 2012. Claire is a founding co-director of A-Y/dancers, a repertory dance company based in Beacon, and is the company's primary ballet teacher on while tour. 
Deanna Ford
Lower, Middle and Upper School Ballet, Jazz, Choreography
Deanna Ford began her classical training in Washington State. Upon
her arrival in New York City, she continued her training, on scholarship,
at the School of American Ballet, The Joffrey Ballet, The Harkness
Ballet and with David Howard. Deanna began her professional career
as a soloist with the Hartford Ballet. She was also a member of the
New Jersey Ballet. Deanna was a featured ballet dancer for Radio
City Music Hall Productions, and was also a Radio City Rockette.
She has been teaching classical ballet and jazz throughout
the Northeast since 1998. 
Sara LaPadula
Lower School Ballet
Sara LaPadula began her dance training at 3 years of age in Westchester County. She is an alumni of Ballet Arts Studio, where she trained and performed with the Dutchess Dance Company as a Principal Dancer for 3 years. She graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where she received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance and a Minor in Education. Sara has performed works by renowned choreographers including Camille A. Brown, Uri Sands, and a soloist role in Jose Lim√≥n's A Choreographic Offering. At UMass Amherst, Sara served on the Executive Board as President of Alive with Dance, where she worked to create a platform for presenting dance works and classes to students and members of the community. Sara is currently studying with the Lim√≥n Dance Company's Professional Training Program. She has a great passion and love for dance which she generously shares with our youngest dancers. 
Miriam Mahdaviani
Middle and Upper School Ballet
and Pointe; Choreography
Miriam Mahdaviani began her classical training at the School of American Ballet, after which George Balanchine invited her to join the New York City Ballet (City Ballet). During her 14-year career at City Ballet, she danced in over 40 Balanchine ballets, and worked with other notable choreographers including Jerome Robbins, Lar Lubovitch, Twyla Tharp, Jacques d'Amboise, and Peter Martins. She performed leading roles in numerous Balanchine ballets, among them Jewels, The Sleeping Beauty, La Valse, Coppelia, and The Nutcracker. On screen, she appeared in the Dance in America series on PBS, and in City Ballet's movie of Balanchine's The Nutcracker. Ms. Mahdaviani has choreographed several ballets for City Ballet as well as for major dance companies around the United States and internationally. Since 2004, Ms. Mahdaviani has been a visiting professor of dance at Vassar College, teaching ballet technique and pointe classes at the beginner through advanced levels. She also teaches master classes and workshops in Balanchine technique at ballet schools, college dance programs, and summer programs throughout the Northeast. 
Jennifer Nathanson
Middle and Upper School Ballet and Pointe; Choreography
Jennifer Fuchs Nathanson began dancing at the age of 4, and was formally trained at The School of American Ballet. In 1989, Peter Martins asked her to join The New York City Ballet (City Ballet).

During her career with City Ballet, Jennifer performed much of the repertory of George Balanchine, Jerome Robbins, and Peter Martins, as well as dancing in the work of resident choreographers for the Company. She performed as a demi-soloist and soloist in many ballets, including The Sleeping Beauty, The Nutcracker, The Four Temperaments, and Vienna Waltzes. Jennifer can be seen as a marzipan in the film version of George Balanchine's Nutcracker.

After her retirement from City Ballet in 1995, Jennifer began teaching children's classes at Studio Maestro in New York City. She has been a ballet teacher for more than 20 years, and has taught throughout the Hudson Valley, including at Vassar College, the Community Dance Center, the New York Academy of Ballet, and the Dutchess School of Performing Arts.
 
Skyla Schreter
Middle and Upper School Ballet,
Choreography
Skyla Schreter is formerly a dancer with San Francisco Ballet (2014-2020) and Boston Ballet (2013-2014.) She formally trained at the School of American Ballet as well as with private coaches Diana White and Kyra Nichols.

Schreter has created works with dancers from San Francisco Ballet, New York City Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, Los Angeles Ballet and Pennsylvania Ballet. As a dancer with San Francisco Ballet, Schreter created featured roles in new works by William Forysthe, David Dawson and Cathy Marston and performed a vast array of historic classical ballets.

Schreter has taught ballet, pointe and contemporary classes, as well as choreography workshops, to students of various ages and levels, including at the School of American Ballet, San Francisco Ballet and Scarsdale Ballet Studio. She is a Co-Founder of LotusWorks Gallery & Workshop, a multi-disciplinary arts space in downtown Beacon.  
Jessica Smith
Contemporary,
Choreography
Jessica Smith is a New York City based dancer from New Orleans, Louisiana. She studied at New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, London Contemporary Dance School, and received her BFA in Dance from the Department of Dance at Purchase College. She has performed with Sleep No More NYC, Vim Vigor Dance Company and ZviDance and was Associate Director of Arts on Site NYC. She continues to teach and set work at schools, festivals, and training programs throughout the U.S. and internationally including: Purchase College, Princeton University, Springboard Danse Montreal (Canada), Perry-Mansfield Performing Arts Camp, Peridance Certificate Program, Blois Danse Festival (France), and DanzaMed Temporada Internacional de Danza de Medell√≠n (Columbia). She is Co-Founder and Co-Artistic Director of Dual Rivet, a highly physical contemporary dance company based in NYC.  
 

STAFF

 
Mary Pesacreta
Administrative Assistant



Mary Pesacreta graduated cum laude from Marist College in Poughkeepsie, New York with a degree in the sciences.  She formerly worked in the development office at IBM.  She is a lifelong resident of Poughkeepsie.  
 
Fern Ricci
Administrative Assistant



Fern Ricci joined the Ballet Arts Studio staff as the Backstage Manager for the Spring Concert production in 2005. Since 2002, she has been the Choreographer/Costume Mistress for Mahopac Middle School. Fern was a dance fitness teacher at Allsport in Fishkill and Poughkeepsie and is happily retired from 31 years of teaching elementary and middle school in the Mahopac and Wappingers Falls school districts.